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Official Maryland treatgets an 'aye' from Rob
Making the Smith Island 10-layer cake the official Maryland dessert is a sweet-tooth no-brainer

Date published: 1/27/2008

By Rob Hedelt

IF IT'S NOT messing with the Chesapeake Bay or the critters that live in it, I don't pay much attention to the Maryland legislature.

But this week, those legislators became my heroes.

They are considering a bill giving the amazing, delectable Smith Island 10-layer cake its due, making the Eastern Shore delicacy Maryland's official dessert.

Nothing has ever made more sense.

It was last summer when I found myself on the island, whose inhabitants have pulled crabs and oysters from the waters of the Chesapeake Bay since the land was settled by English colonists.

There to do a story on a group of local and state educators going through a nature immersion program run by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, I was quite taken with this place where history, family and the water are cornerstones of life for about 300 year-round residents.

And I was even more taken with the layer cakes our group had for dessert on two evenings, courtesy of an amazing cook in the little community of Tylerton.

The culinary coma I went into after biting into the first of the two, a chocolate delight, nearly put me out for the night.

To hear that there are 10 layers of sweet, tangy icing between rounds of moist, yellow cake initially sounds a bit much.

Oh, but no, it's not.

It's like a great chocolate cake times 10, with every bite a soul-satisfying achievement.

Going back for seconds was a true no-brainer.

Like everyone in the room, who gave the cook a standing ovation when she appeared later, I cleaned my plate of every crumb and morsel.

The next night, another one of the chocolate delights arrived, this one with banana added to the equation.

As my stepfather used to say, it was good enough to knock your hat in the creek.

In a unique feature of the training program, we actually visited our cook the following day, interviewing her as part of an assignment in the CBF program to find out about island life.


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